Keeping Time with the 10 Best Live Music Haunts in the City

The power of live music to make folks feel good is on full display at a host of New York nightclubs, cabaret spaces, and rooftop bars with spectacular views of the Hudson or East River. If listening to bands and vocalists show off their skills is how you like to spend an evening, you'll find that New York does things right. Multiple options let you tap into the venues that 10Best readers favor, like Amateur Night at the fabled Apollo in Harlem, or  B.B. King's Blues Club & Grille steps away from Times Square or scale the heights to Dizzy's Club-CocaCola for a bird's eye view of Central Park and an international line up of jazz artists. Prefer a low-key ambiance, follow the natives to the leafy streets of Park Slope for a mellow night at Barbes. At 40, the venerable Cornelia St. Café still puts out a sizzling stream of dulcet tones and hot jazz nightly while the Sidewalk Café on Avenue A taps to the sound of its own off-beat lineups year round. Keep in mind that where you go is just as important as when you go to a place – some nights the place is electricifying, sometimes it's the luck of the draw. Try to keep up with the acts you really want to see and book them when you see the listing, this is NYC people act fast. Best sources for the current week's happenings and live performances is the weekly magazine, Time Out  or PAPERMAG, both of which keep a close eye on pop culture, nightlife and music.



For those who wouldn't think of leaving Manhattan to catch a live band, consider this: Folks who're regulars at Park Slope's Barbes have no intention of passing up the free shows here. Who can blame them? The two French musicians and long-time...  Read More

East Village


SideWalk Cafe is an East Village landmark that, in addition to being a popular neighborhood dining spot, bar and burger joint, is recognized as an important venue for emerging singer-songwriters and other performing artists. In the mid-1980s,...  Read More

East Village


Attached to the Public Theatre, Joe's Pub is an intimate venue that's highly regarded all over the city for its eclectic weekly lineups. On any given night, the featured performer may be a little-known jazz ensemble or a pop-culture icon like...  Read More

B.B. King's Blues Club & Grille


Named after the celebrated "king of the blues" B.B.King and ideally situated in bustling Times Square, is a space that hosts musical talent from blues, jazz, and hip-hop to funk, blue grass and even heavy metal.There is clear viewing access to...  Read More

Cornelia Street Cafe
Photo courtesy of Cornelia St. Cafe


In May 1977 three artists stumbled across a tiny storefront in the heart of Greenwich Village and thought it was the perfect place to open a café. Years later, it was proclaimed a culinary and cultural landmark. Every inch of this place reeks...  Read More



Lincoln Center is a New York tradition boasting the heaviest jazz cats along with some inspiring up-and-comers. Find emerging performers on Monday nights (always rewarding shows), and the rest of the week don't miss world famous musicians. Named...  Read More



Considered one of the very best relaunches, The Cutting Room landed at its new location on East 32nd Street between Park and Madison. Building on a decade of history that includes some of today's top performers - John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Sting,...  Read More

Lower East Side


Housed in a lovely Beaux Arts building that dates this music venue was built just before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Today it brings top acts while also maintaining its edgy attitude. What's more, the classic swankiness of the brass...  Read More

The Apollo Theater


The new Harlem Renaissance is in full swing inside this neo-classical structure, home to The Apollo Theater. Designed in 1914, it received landmark status in 1983. Some say it is one of the most influential entertainment venues in the world....  Read More

Lower East Side


Rockwood started off as a cramped storefront space that has expanded into one of the most loved downtown multi-stages. Located between Houston and Stanton, Rockwood is a cozy listening room that engages patrons with its sophisticated atmosphere...  Read More


Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

Maria writes...  More About Maria